PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Lithium miner Galaxy Resources has pushed back the final commissioning and first spodumene production from the Mt Cattlin mine, in Western Australia, from the third quarter of 2016 to November.
Galaxy recently completed its takeover of joint venture partner General Mining, gaining full ownership of the Mt Cattlin project.
General Mining in July announced a decision to upgrade the throughput at Mt Cattlin from 800 000 t/y to 1.6-million tonnes a year, which is expected to deliver substantial operational efficiency and greater capacity to meet the current demand for spodumene production from the Chinese market.
Galaxy told shareholders on Tuesday that the refurbishment and upgrade of the Mt Cattlin mine had passed 80% completion; however, the combination of changes being built into the mica removal circuit, increased throughput capacity, the project management changes and a period of heavy seasonal rain had all resulted in delays to the production and shipment of first spodumene from the site.
Final commissioning and first production is earmarked for November, with first shipments from the Port of Esperance scheduled for December.
Galaxy noted that its offtake partner Mitsubishi had been fully informed of the delay.
Despite the anticipated delays, customers have requested increased tonnage above the already-contracted amount for 2017, Galaxy said, with the company negotiating terms with Mitsubishi and its Chinese customers for the additional tonnage available from the expanded production.